Who would like to travel to rainy England, when one can enjoy the warmth of Africa? We don’t. But unfortunately our favorite birds reside in England, so out of love for our birds we decide to visit wet England. The day of our arrival is one of historic significance. The People of Great Britain vote for the exit from the European Union. But we push those thoughts away until we return home. We travel to Skokholm, a bird’s paradise and isle located along Wales’ shore. We are equipped with food for a week and the knowledge to go without a shower, a toilet or heating. Electricity and warm water is only available during the sun hours. Hopefully it won’t rain too often!
We haven’t landed yet, but already our feathery favorites welcome us – our friendly puffins.
Ahead of us lie eventful days in the company of around 22,000 birds and 12 hours of photography work daily. We are convinced: vacation probably looks different for most people.
We enjoy every minute of sunshine, because the weather turns out to be as “English” as initially feared. A good many times it is pouring with rain, the sun being shy. But fortunately our puffins are not. For us they are clumsy fellas, often bravely defending the fishing for their hatchlings against the brutal attacks of the albatross, only their speed helping them.
They also proved their courage towards us. This kind of approach was surprisingly on a close touch. Nothing escapes their intellectual curiosity: Tripods, shoes, backpacks are tested with the robust beaks for taste and resistance to tearing. By doing this they looked totally relaxed.
Nevertheless we are tightened during such moments very much. Who has already observed a parrot diver with the toilet way, knows our worries. It happens suddenly and there are a lot of amounts in a very liquid consistence which are distributed with high pressure. We have luck.
Since 2015 puffins are endangered animals, a sad thought for us.
We are deeply grateful to be able to experience them live and up close in their rookery and of course photograph them. This is only possible during their breeding season in summer. The rest of the time they live out in the open sea, where they brave the forces of nature. We find out about the consequences a storm brings along after we return to the coast. Our tent is laying on the ground, the bars are broken, the fabric torn and the tent pegs are scattered on the ground. But giving up is not an option for us. The repairs take some time but prove to be worth it for the last ten days, which are sadly often rainy.
Before our trip we were Concerned about driving on the left and our German car: driving wheel on the left. But it worked out fine. The challende are the single-track coast roads, driving backwards in curvy terrain when you meet oncomming traffic requires learning.
Initially we only went to England because of our enthusiasm with puffins but on location we found a lot more that’s worth seeing. Especially the coastal landscape in and around Pembrokeshire fascinated us. You can find wonderful natural bridges, water masses flowing around them. High up in the steep faces and upstream rocks thousands of guillemots and razorbills are breeding. Both animals remind us in their shape of penguins that are able to fly.
Nobody can be surprised that we already have visited Wales with their unique bird’s world and their wonderful nature the next year again. This time with enlarged programme: the northern east coast with its wonderful chalk rocks, the biggest colony of gannets of Europe and the idyllic county Yorkshire.
The life of the gannet families with her fledglings is very loud. There is begged after feed, having some issues with their neighbours and is whispered sweet nothings according to heart desire.
In the colony which applies about several high cliff segments is happening a lot. In our opinion the noisy parkers are the funniest ones. They sail about the nests of her congeners and look from 1-2-metre height in complete silence at their nest life. This not always fits the nest owners. And already there is trouble again.
We spend some days to observe the exciting life of the gannets and are quickly convinced: Behaviour patterns like in a suburban settlement in Germany. In the flight the majestic birds are a dreamlike sight. The wind can wear nothing to them. Certainly and quietly they pull their roads in the sky. Gannets without pure-white plumage are still 4 years old and notable for gender.
In the meantime, we visit England and Wales with the unique island Skokholm again and again. The bird’s paradise has extremely high addiction potential for us.